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90s Slang You Should Know


[kuh-neyl; French ka-nah-yuh] /kəˈneɪl; French kaˈnɑ yə/
riffraff; rabble.
Origin of canaille
1670-80; < French < Italian canaglia pack of dogs, equivalent to can(e) dog (< Latin canis) + -aglia collective suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for canaille
Historical Examples
  • There should be doorkeepers at Harrowgate to keep out the canaille!

    Modern Flirtations Catherine Sinclair
  • Is your business concerned with this infernal insubordination of the canaille?

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • She faced the rebels now with the air of one who knew them for the canaille they were.

    The Red Year Louis Tracy
  • I tried to invest her with all the "traits" of that "canaille" multitude I hated.

    Gerald Fitzgerald Charles James Lever
  • One of the canaille, a jailer, was put on the witness stand and questioned briefly.

    In the Day of Adversity John Bloundelle-Burton
  • "If you can keep the canaille of that opinion," said Augustine.

    Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • The yeomanry of the United States are not the canaille of Paris.

  • None of your raileries, Tarleton, or I shall speak to you of plebeians and the canaille!

    Devereux, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • She looked as manifestly not one of the canaille of incorrigibles as, in her place, Lucrezia Borgia would have looked.

    Romance Island Zona Gale
  • But I use the canaille for my purpose—I don't mean to enthrone it.

    The Parisians, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
British Dictionary definitions for canaille


the masses; mob; rabble
Word Origin
C17: from French, from Italian canaglia pack of dogs
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for canaille

"rabble," from French canaille (16c.), from Italian canaglia, literally "a pack of dogs," from cane "dog" (see canine).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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